It’s All About Soffits — What Are They and What Do They Do?
There are two important requirements for anything on the outside of your house: it has to be strong and secure, and it should look good. Getting your soffits right is essential for both.
What Are Soffits?
In a general sense, the word soffit can refer to the underside of any architectural element, from an arch to a chimney. For most practical purposes, though, it means the board that goes underneath the fascia, completing the building’s roofline or eaves.
The fascia and soffit, though different components, effectively make up a single system, protecting any gaps between the walls and roof and supporting the guttering. The fascia is a vertical board coming down from the roof overhang, while the soffit connects it to the siding and is usually screwed or nailed to the rafters.
Materials for Soffits
Soffits can be made of various substances, including:
- Timber — Wooden structures usually add to the look of a building’s exterior, but even well-treated timber will eventually start to rot and decay, weakening the roofline both structurally and in weatherproofing.
- Aluminium — Aluminium is a strong, resilient material that will stand up to both stress and weather. Its main drawback is that, unless you want a modernist look, metal soffits seem out of place on your house.
- UPVC — UPVC is an extraordinarily flexible material. It has the strength of aluminium, but it can be painted to look like timber, giving your roofline the classiness of wood without the drawbacks.
It’s essential to have adequate ventilation through to the rafters in the eaves. This allows the timber to breathe, reducing the risk of dampness and rot.
Ventilation can be through either the fascia or the soffit. Both have their advocates, but the general consensus tends to prefer using soffits for ventilation. The better quality soffit boards come with the option of ventilation technology built in, to allow air to circulate without exposing the roof space to hostile weather.
Even more than the fascia, soffit boards are very visible elements of your home’s exterior. This means that, while making them strong and secure is the primary consideration, you also want them to look good.
It’s especially important, of course, for your house to have kerb appeal if you’re selling it, but even if you’re planning to live there long term, you want an attractive building. UPVC is the best material for combining strength and looks.
If you think your soffits may not be doing their job, contact us to discuss the possibilities.